Meeting of the ACP in Adare, Co. Limerick
Priest members of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) from the Diocese of Limerick met at the Woodlands House Hotel on April 12th 2011 at 3pm. Eight priests attended and about five other sent apologies. Sean McDonagh was asked to give a short background on the circumstance that led to the formation of the ACP in September 2010.
Three issues were highlighted at the meeting. 1. The lack of consultation and questionable quality of the new translation of the Missal. 2. Concerns around accusations against priests of sexual abuse, especially those that go back over 10 years. 3. The future of Catholic Education in the context of the aspirations of the current Minister for Education – Ruairi Quinn.
There was a lively discussion on each topic. A number of those who spoke were upset at the lack of consultation involved in the new translation. They were glad that the ACP had taken a clear position on the matter, but felt that it was time now to move on. Others felt that a new wave of criticism will emerge when the texts are introduced on the First Sunday of Advent.
There was general support for the position the ACP had taken on the wider issue child sexual abuse in the wake of the Murphy report. Since many priests now feel very vulnerable, there was unanimous support for the recent, more focused, initiatives of the ACP which challenge the procedures that some bishops and religious superiors have followed in dealing with priests against whom accusations have been made.
The future of Catholic Schools and the stated objectives of the current Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, in relationship to his desire to take over 50% of the schools which are under Catholic patronage of one kind or another was also discussed. The priests who spoke felt the minister would have a fight on his hands, not just from practicing Catholics, but from other parents who wish to send their children to a Catholic school. Some did feel that it was time that preparation for the sacrament – Holy Communion and Confirmation – was taken over by the parish.
One of the priests who attended spoke of the need for personal spiritual renewal for all priests.
The priests who attended were asked to put the ACP’s website on their Parish Bulletin/newsletter.
The meeting ended about 4.30pm.